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Cloth Adventures (continued)

1 May

Up until today, cloth diapering had been going really well! We were exclusively using the cloth diapers during the day and only using disposables at night, when we went on a trip out of town, and once when I forgot to do the laundry (eek!). We didn’t experience any leaks which was wonderful because I had read that, depending on the “build” of your baby, certain brands can cause leaks.

We use the all-in-one, one size BumGenius diapers and I honestly don’t have any complaints thus far in our cloth diaper journey. It’s really easy to just throw the dirty diaper in the laundry bag (just like you’d throw away a disposable diaper). Then every other day, you just dump the laundry bag into the washer and viola. Done. I know a lot of people think its a hassle…but most people are doing laundry every other day (regardless of you’re doing cloth or not) simply because babes are messy.

So let me share what we learned today: yeast is a nasty, nasty monster. Lol. Abbie has a yeast rash and as I researched how to treat it, I discovered that if you’re using cloth diapers you need to “strip” the diapers to make sure all the yeast is gone so that your baby doesn’t get another rash. Now, when I first heard the term “strip your diapers”, I imagined sitting there ripping the diaper up and “stripping” the cloth part off. Maybe I’m strange to have that as my thought process? I dunno. Whether I’m strange or not, stripping diapers is much easier than I thought. It just involves dawn dish soap, bleach, and doing some laundry. The BumGenius website has the stripping directions on there so it is super easy.
Thankfully the rash is going away now, the diapers are stripped, and we are ready to hop back on the cloth diapering bandwagon ūüôā

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Ten things they DON’T tell you about life after childbirth…

28 Apr

Just a warning: If you’re a dude, you do NOT. I repeat..YOU DO NOT want to read this. Your view of women will change forever.

There is so much misleading info about what “after having the baby” looks like. In movies, the women are perfectly sitting there with make-up on, hair gorgeously styled, and a perfectly clean baby sitting in their arms. Yeah. Right. That isn’t real life.

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When Justin and I were in our Bradley childbirth class, we definitely went over a “postpartum” chapter and our Bradley instructor did a great job. But there are just some things that you can’t be prepared for until it happens to you. I discovered in my postpartum days that there were several things I wish I had prepared for more. So I thought I would post this to try and help whoever might need it out there….it’s a bit graphic, so I apologize.

1. You will bleed for a while. A LOT. I’m not talking “heavy cycle” either. I’m talking “Where on this green earth is all this blood coming from?!”. Granted, if you have a c-section its a bit lighter, and it will get lighter every day as long as you are resting enough. But I swear in the hospital (those first 48 -72 hours), my bathroom looked like a scene from a horror movie. No joke.

2. You’ll be in maternity clothes for a while. Unless you’re one of those freaks who looks like they were never pregnant when they have a three- day- old baby in their arms (they exist, really.), be prepared to hang out in sweats and maternity clothes for a few weeks. I think I finally fit into my pre-maternity clothes after 2 months. bleh. And don’t waste your time investing in a belly-bandit or compression wrap. Mine was useless. Your body will do what it wants do.

3. You won’t be able to sit properly for a few days/weeks. Recovering from a vaginal delivery is a rough recovery… more so if you tear. Since I tore extensively, I may be a bit biased. But I was sitting on pillows for about 6 weeks. I even had one in the car.

4. Your lady parts will be messed up. Seriously. Just don’t look down there for about 8 weeks.That’s all you need to know.

5. You’ll be afraid to go #2. In the weeks following childbirth, poop is no laughing matter. Take LOTS of colace, water, and fiber…but the first few times will still be scary and you’ll be checking the toilet afterwards to make sure your uterus isn’t in there. Too far? Sorry ūüė¶

6. At some point, you will want to give up on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is hard. Even though it is natural and every woman is capable of doing it, it takes a few weeks to get the hang of it. DON’T GIVE UP!! It is the best thing on this earth that you can give your baby. See a lactation consultant as many times as it takes to get the hang of it. And don’t believe that crap that “some women weren’t made for breastfeeding” or “my boobs are too small/big” or “the baby just likes the bottle better”. lies, lies, lies. You can do it. And if you don’t want to breastfeed because you think it is awkward, hard, inconvenient, or because you don’t want your breasts to sag….then you’re selfish. I’m sorry, I’ll get off of my soap box now.

7. You might have some bitterness towards your baby. I truly believe that every mom goes through some level of postpartum depression. I remember sitting in the dark, rocking my newborn baby, crying, and thinking ‘this little baby has ruined my life!’. Irrational thought? You betcha. But it is normal to have a tough time adjusting to a new life with a baby. Its just really hard sometimes. Whats important is that you recognize your feelings and communicate them to your partner to get support.

8. You will be jealous of yor husband. Not just because he didn’t have to push the baby out, but because he gets to sleep while you’re up breastfeeding at 4am. He doesn’t have to go through crazy hormonal changes…..and bottom line: he just doesn’t have it as rough as you do. There are times when I’m sitting at home with Abbie (usually on a fussy/ rough day) and I find myself green with envy that Justin gets to work out with friends in the morning, go to work all day, come home for dinner, and then sleep through the night. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE my daughter and I love being a stay-at-home mom. It is definitely where I’m called to be. But there are days where I fantasize about just leaving town for a couple of days, shopping my tail off at my favorite stores, and staying in a beach condo. Not that I’ve given that idea much thought or anything…

9. If you choose to get an epidural, you might not be able to feel parts of your body. I’m not a fan of drugs during childbirth (or any time for that matter) at all….but I understand that sometimes they are necessary. I’ll share Abbie’s birth story later this week but, long story short, I ended up in a hospital with an epidural 30ish hours into my labor. A week or so after the birth, I noticed that a certain spot on my upper thigh had no feeling! Talk about freaky. Four months later its still numb. I researched it online and there are hundreds of thousands of women with the same issue. All due to stupid drugs and stupid anesthesiologists hitting a nerve wrong in my spine. grrrr. So, yeah. Don’t get an epidural unless its medically necessary. It’s bad for your baby anyways.

10. Your diet may need to drastically change. Baby eczema, cradle cap, baby acne, spit up, gas….these are all things that society things are normal for a baby to experience. But in reality, they are a sign of imbalance and “gut issues” in the baby’s body. These issues, if not taken care of early on, can lead to disease, sickness, etc. This stuff is scientifically proven people. It’s not just some hippie view that I have. Anyways….a lot of those previously stated baby issues are caused by mom’s milk and the proteins in it. A popular one is dairy. But not many people know that things like wheat, corn, eggs, soy, and caffeine can greatly affect a baby and they just pass off the signs of a reaction as something that is “normal”. This is the whole reason I went on the elimination diet and, eventually, switched to eating paleo as I did more research on how these things affect our bodies.

So there you have it….lots of info that you should know before giving birth. Sure, not all women experience ALL of these symptoms (you lucky ducks…). You may only experience one. But if you plan on having more than one child, it is good info to keep tucked away so you are prepared for the future. Remember…in the end, it is worth it all. If it meant that Abbie was healthy and happy, I’d experience it all over again tenfold.

Cloth Adventures….

2 Apr

Two things Justin and I are adamant about: saving money and giving Abbie the best we can provide.  So when we learned about cloth diapers, we knew it was the only thing that made sense.

I must admit, not knowing anything about cloth diapering, my first thought was this:

I did NOT want to mess with safety pins, accidentally poking Abbie, cleaning up a poopy mess  in that thin cloth,  or folding nasty rags after doing the laundry.

But I began to research and found that cloth diapers are pretty cool! They are easy to use, wash, and MUCH easier on the budget (we learned that cloth diapers can save you around $1500)! The other bonus is that cloth diapers are¬†much safer to use since they aren’t filled with chemicals – even those brown “chlorine-free” diapers are filled with them! As far as usage goes, the only big difference is that instead of throwing the trash bag of dirty diapers away, you dump the trash bag into the laundry.

If you are currently using or plan on using disposable diapers PLEASE go here¬†. It’s what helped me make the decision to switch.

So, with all that said, we are slowly making the switch to cloth diapers. We got quite a few disposables at the baby shower so we are finishing them up..but today was Abbie’s first adventure wearing cloth ALL day (we use Bumgenius). Here is what they look like…

left: cloth diaper, right: cloth diaper insert

insert

¬†They come in all types of colors/ patterns and its super easy! Abbie couldn’t even tell a difference!

"What? I'm wearing a cloth diaper??"

Product Love #2: Boppy

1 Apr

Abbie chillin' on the Boppy pillow

I could talk about breastfeeding for hours. The trials, the joys, the annoyances (leaky boobs? what?)…yep…I’ve become one of¬†those moms that has no boundaries when it comes to anything related to babies or bodily functions. When the day comes that I start talking about Abbie’s poop on here, we’ll all know I’ve gone off the deep end.

But I digress. Back to breastfeeding.

Personally, breastfeeding has been a struggle (and still is sometimes) but I thank God that I haven’t given up and we’re still going strong. While I could go on and on talking about the many health benefits that go along with it or how it saves SO much money (yay for free food!), I really want to talk about the importance of being comfortable while nursing.

Let me say this right off the bat: I used to hate my Boppy. Obviously that has changed (hence, the ‘Product Luurve #2’).¬†So let me explain…

After Abbie was born, feeding her was pretty difficult we couldn’t find a good position at all. I tried the Boppy when she was a newborn but she would only eat in the “football hold” and I couldn’t maneuver her in that position PLUS try to get the Boppy to fit around my huge stomach that still looked pregnant (pretty picture, eh?).¬†¬†When it comes down to it, I think Abbie and I were just trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and everything was frustrating us at that point. I¬†remember sitting in bed with FIVE pillows trying to get both of us into a comfortable position. I wanted to give up and switch to formula so many times (praise God I didn’t!).

It wasn’t until she was a few weeks old that I fell in love with my Boppy. My stomach was smaller, she was bigger, and everything just seemed to work better. Now, I can barely nurse without it! It puts her at the perfect height and allows me to have a hand free that would normally be holding her up to me…I seriously wish they made a blow-up “travel size” version to stick in my diaper bag. I should patent that idea in case they read this blog hehe.

Here’s the break down:

Pros

  • allows mom to be hands-free while nursing (eating¬†chips carrot sticks and channel surfing¬† reading timeless literature, woot!)
  • comfy for baby and mom- sometimes that is where Abbie takes her naps if she falls asleep in my lap after nursing
  • easy to use
  • multi purpose: pillow, nursing pillow, helps baby sit up, great for tummy time
  • slipcover comes off for easy washing
  • many stylish, cute slipcovers available

Cons

  • difficult to use when mom is bigger
  • no travel-size available

“So Happy Together”

30 Mar

Before Abbie was born, Justin and I had so many plans and expectations of what we were/ were not doing as parents. No pacifiers, No bottles, Sleeping in the crib, Set a schedule by 3 months, Vaccinating via our¬†Pediatrician’s recommendation,¬†¬†Cloth diapers, etc.

Boy, oh boy, has that list changed. I’ll eventually get to each and every one of those topics, but today I want to talk about co-sleeping because as I sit here and type away, Abbie is preciously asleep in my arms (multi-tasking mom for the win!).

I’m not even sure how our co-sleeping adventures began. I’m pretty sure that even when we left the hospital we were thinking Abbie would start out sleeping in her pack and play by our bed, and then eventually move to the crib. She has probably only slept in that pack and play a total of two times, lol.

I think it started out because Abbie would only fall asleep when being held as a newborn. Once we put her down she would wake up about 30 minutes later, I’d nurse, and the whole saga would start over again. But we found that if I nursed her to sleep and laid her next to me, she slept for a few hours at a time! Sleep, glorious sleep! I remember when she was just days old Justin, Abbie, and I would all sleep on the futon in our guest room because the mattress was so firm I wasn’t worried about rolling over onto her lol.

Now that she is three months old, we still co-sleep (although we are in our bedroom now in the King-sized bed) and I love it. She sleeps 6-9 hours every night! I know it is because she is at peace and knows we are near. Sometimes she will stir at night and stretch out like a starfish until one of her limbs touches me and feels that I’m there– could she melt my heart any more?!

I have done a lot of research through websites, books, blogs, etc and here is a list of some benefits of co-sleeping. I got most of the following from Dr. Sears (who I love for the most part. You should read his books. All of them.) :

  • Parents and baby sleep more peacefully–¬†Research shows that co-sleeping infants virtually never startle during sleep and rarely cry during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying¬†. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, interferes with restful sleep and leads to long-term sleep anxiety.
  • Stable Physiology–¬†Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures¬†, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone.
  • Decreases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome-¬†Worldwide research shows that the SIDS rate is lowest (and even unheard of) in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception. Babies who sleep either in or next to their parents‚Äô bed have a fourfold decrease in the chance of SIDS¬†. Co-sleeping babies actually spend more time sleeping on their back or side which decreases the risk of SIDS. Further research shows that the carbon dioxide exhaled by a parent actually works to stimulate baby‚Äôs breathing.
  • Long term emotional health-¬†Co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school, and are more comfortable with affection. They also have less psychiatric problems.

If you’re interested in learning more, there’s a good link here¬†here¬†and here

Who wouldn’t love waking up to this? :

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Product Love #1: Ergo

29 Mar

If you have a baby, then you know how important it is to be hands free for at least some part of the day.

You also know how important naps for the little one are. And those two factors, my friends, are what brought me to the Ergo baby carrier. Abbie is three months old now and I had tried¬†three different carriers before I caved and bought mine (it’s a bit on the pricey side..thank goodness for Amazon!). ¬†But I love it so, so, so, much. I can put Abbie in it, she naps, and I have free hands to do whatever I need to do.

It is also great for grocery trips and errands. I make sure its in my car whenever we go out! I think I have Abbie trained to associate it with sleep because even if she’s already napped, she falls right asleep in it! Currently, we are using it with the infant insert because she is just now getting to the point where her neck is strong. But I would suggest not getting rid of the infant insert until baby can sit up on his/her own.

So let’s break it down!

Pros

  • lightweight to tote around
  • head cover for when baby is sleeping or to shield off weather conditions (sun, rain, etc)
  • comfortable for baby
  • baby sleeps soundly
  • designed for baby’s posture-¬† baby is in a natural position as if you were holding him/ her. Other carriers like the Baby Bjorn hold the baby in an unnatural way and it can cause hip problems.
  • adjustable waist band, shoulder straps, and head cover so it works from infant to toddler
  • adjustable to wear front, back, or hip
  • doesn’t hurt the wearer’s back

Cons

  • on the more expensive side (but we shopped on Amazon and got it for 50% off)
  • baby could probably get a little sweaty if you’re wearing it outside in the heat (80 or above)

Overall, I’d say this is the best carrier hands down! We had a Moby Wrap, Seven Sling, and a Baby Bjorn but the Ergo worked out the best for both Abbie and myself ūüôā

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